Publications by authors named "Donna M MacGregor"

10 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

"Lest we forget": An overview of Australia's response to the recovery and identification of unrecovered historic military remains.

Forensic Sci Int 2021 Oct 4;328:111042. Epub 2021 Oct 4.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia; School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is responsible for the recovery and identification of its historic casualties. With over 30,000 still unrecovered from past conflicts including World War One (WW1) and World War Two (WWII), the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force have teams that research, recover, identify and oversee the burial (or reburial) of the remains of soldiers and airmen who continue to be found each year. The Royal Australian Navy is also responsible for its unrecovered casualties. Collectively the priorities of the various services within the ADF are the respectful recovery and treatment of the dead, thorough forensic identification efforts, resolution for families and honouring the ADF's proud history of service and sacrifice. What is unique about the approach of the ADF is that the respective services retain responsibility for their historic losses, while a joint approach is taken on policies and in the utilisation of the pool of forensic specialists. Section One describes the process undertaken by the Australian Army in the recovery, identification and burial or repatriation of soldiers through its specialised unit Unrecovered War Casualties - Army (UWC-A). Section Two describes the role of the Royal Australian Air Force in the recovery of aircraft and service personnel through their specialised unit Historic Unrecovered War Casualties - Air Force (HUWC-AF). An overview of the operations of each service and case studies is presented for each section.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2021.111042DOI Listing
October 2021

Temporal mapping of the closure of the anterior fontanelle and contiguous sutures using computed tomography, in silico models of modern infants.

J Anat 2020 08 13;237(2):379-390. Epub 2020 Apr 13.

Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

The aim of this study is to quantify and statistically model the age-related decline in the fibrous connective tissue interface of the anterior fontanelle in modern Australian infants, using three-dimensional, semi-automated computed-assisted design protocols. Non-linear regression with variance models, using power functions, combined with quantile regression of the 5th and 95th population percentiles, were utilised to assess absolute anterior fontanelle surface area (AFSA) as a function of age, using multi-slice cranial computed tomography scans obtained from 256 infants aged < 30 months (males: n = 126, females: n = 109) from Brisbane children's hospitals. Normalised AFSA (NFSA), standardised for variation in cephalic size, followed a progressive decline from birth, the greatest velocity change occurring between the 3-6 and 6-9 month cohorts. Growth of the neurocranium is the most significant within the first 8 months postpartum, with a mean increase of 19.03 mm in maximum cranial length and 10.04 mm in breadth. Directionality of fontanelle closure, quantified using spline curves refutes fundamental assumptions that the anterior fontanelle is consistent with a quadrilateral, and contiguous sutures exhibit constant velocity of closure. The present study provides normative values for fontanelle size and diameters as well as new predictive non-linear models for age substantiation, screening of developmental abnormalities and indicators of suspected child maltreatment in modern infants aged birth to 30 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.13200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7369186PMC
August 2020

Bayesian modeling predicts age and sex are not required for accurate stature estimation from femoral length.

Forensic Sci Int 2018 Aug 14;289:452.e1-452.e14. Epub 2018 Apr 14.

School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Despite the recognized flaws in applying traditional stature estimation equations such as those of Trotter and Gleser (1952) [5] to a contemporary population, there are currently no available alternatives for stature estimation in Australia that address these limitations. Post mortem computed tomography (PMCT) DICOM scans of the left and right femora were acquired from 76 Australian deceased individuals aged 17-76 years for metric analysis. Femoral bicondylar length, femoral epicondylar breadth and anterior-posterior (AP) diameter, medial-lateral (ML) diameter, circumference and cortical area at the femoral midshaft were measured on three-dimensional (3D) models to build statistical models for estimating stature. In addition, Australian individuals aged 16-63 years (n=111) were measured in standing and supine positions to aid in the adjustment of supine stature of deceased individuals utilized in this study to standing stature. The results of this preliminary evaluation strongly indicate that the optimal model for estimating stature includes bicondylar femoral length and epicondylar breadth, that the effect of sex as an independent variable is very low, and there is limited practical benefit in including age in the estimation of stature. Our study indicates that the Australian population sampled represents a small yet significant shift in stature from the original Trotter and Gleser sample. Additionally, in the case of fragmentary remains, it was found that epicondylar breadth and AP diameter had the highest probability of accurate stature estimation in the absence of bicondylar femoral length. As stature forms a significant component of a biological profile and therefore aids in the personal identification of human remains, it is important that forensic anthropologists utilize the most accurate methodologies available. Stature estimation of Australian individuals is therefore achieved with higher accuracy through utilizing the femoral equations proposed in this study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.04.008DOI Listing
August 2018

Standardized anthropological measurement of postcranial bones using three-dimensional models in CAD software.

Forensic Sci Int 2017 Sep 26;278:381-387. Epub 2017 Jul 26.

School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

This study introduces a standardized protocol for conducting linear measurements of postcranial skeletal elements using three-dimensional (3D) models constructed from post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) scans. Using femoral DICOM datasets, reference planes were generated and plane-to-plane measurements were conducted on 3D surface rendered models. Bicondylar length, epicondylar breadth, anterior-posterior (AP) diameter, medial-lateral (ML) diameter and cortical area at the midshaft were measured by four observers to test the measurement error variance and observer agreement of the protocol (n=6). Intra-observer error resulted in a mean relative technical error of measurement (%TEM) of 0.11 and an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of 0.999 (CI=0.998-1.000); inter-observer error resulted in a mean %TEM of 0.54 and ICC of 0.996 (CI=0.979-1.000) for bicondylar length. Epicondylar breadth, AP diameter, ML diameter and cortical area also yielded minimal error. Precision testing demonstrated that the approach is highly repeatable and is recommended for implementation in anthropological investigation and research. This study exploits the benefits of virtual anthropology, introducing an innovative, standardized alternative to dry bone osteometric measurements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.07.015DOI Listing
September 2017

Apophyseal Ossification of the Iliac Crest in Forensic Age Estimation: Computed Tomography Standards for Modern Australian Subadults.

J Forensic Sci 2017 Mar 25;62(2):292-307. Epub 2016 Nov 25.

Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory, Faculty of Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, 4001, Australia.

This study contrasts the ontogeny of the iliac crest apophysis using conventional radiography and multislice computed tomography (MSCT), providing probabilistic information for age estimation of modern Australian subadults. Retrospective abdominopelvic MSCT data acquired from 524 Australian individuals aged 7-25 and surveillance radiographs of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients included in the Paediatric Spine Research Group Progression Study (n = 531) were assessed. Ossification scoring of pseudo-radiographs and three-dimensional (3D) volume-rendered reconstructions using Risser (1958) quantitative descriptors indicate discrepancies in age estimates, stage allocation, and conflicting morphological progression. To mitigate visualization limitations associated with two-dimensional radiographs, we provide and validate a modified 3D-MSCT scoring tier of ossification, demonstrating complete fusion between 17.3-19.2 and 17.1-20.1 years in males and females. Legal demarcation for doli incapax presumption and age of majority (18 years) can be achieved using probability estimates from a fitted cumulative probit model for apophyseal fusion using the recalibrated standards.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.13285DOI Listing
March 2017

Introducing Computed Tomography Standards for Age Estimation of Modern Australian Subadults Using Postnatal Ossification Timings of Select Cranial and Cervical Sites(.).

J Forensic Sci 2016 Jan 16;61 Suppl 1:S39-52. Epub 2015 Sep 16.

Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, 4001, Australia.

Contemporary, population-specific ossification timings of the cranium are lacking in current literature due to challenges in obtaining large repositories of documented subadult material, forcing Australian practitioners to rely on North American, arguably antiquated reference standards for age estimation. This study assessed the temporal pattern of ossification of the cranium and provides recalibrated probabilistic information for age estimation of modern Australian children. Fusion status of the occipital and frontal bones, atlas, and axis was scored using a modified two- to four-tier system from cranial/cervical DICOM datasets of 585 children aged birth to 10 years. Transition analysis was applied to elucidate maximum-likelihood estimates between consecutive fusion stages, in conjunction with Bayesian statistics to calculate credible intervals for age estimation. Results demonstrate significant sex differences in skeletal maturation (p < 0.05) and earlier timings in comparison with major literary sources, underscoring the requisite of updated standards for age estimation of modern individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.12956DOI Listing
January 2016

Effect of Head Position on Facial Soft Tissue Depth Measurements Obtained Using Computed Tomography.

J Forensic Sci 2016 Jan 18;61(1):147-52. Epub 2015 Aug 18.

Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld, 4001, Australia.

Facial soft tissue depth (FSTD) studies employing clinical computed tomography (CT) data frequently rely on depth measurements from raw 2D orthoslices. However, the position of each patient's head was not standardized in this method, potentially decreasing measurement reliability and accuracy. This study measured FSTDs along the original orthoslice plane and compared these measurements to those standardized by the Frankfurt horizontal (FH). Subadult cranial CT scans (n = 115) were used to measure FSTDs at 18 landmarks. Significant differences were observed between the methods at eight of these landmarks (p < 0.05), demonstrating that high-quality data are not generated simply by employing modern imaging modalities such as CT. Proper technique is crucial to useful results, and maintaining control over head position during FSTD data collection is important. This is easily and most readily achieved in CT techniques by rotating the head to the FH plane after constructing a 3D rendering of the data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.12896DOI Listing
January 2016

Ontogeny of the spheno-occipital synchondrosis in a modern Queensland, Australian population using computed tomography.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2015 May 29;157(1):42-57. Epub 2014 Dec 29.

Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, 4001, Australia.

Due to disparity regarding the age at which skeletal maturation of the spheno-occipital synchondrosis occurs in forensic and biological literature, this study provides recalibrated multislice computed tomography (MSCT) age standards for the Australian (Queensland) population, using a Bayesian statistical approach. The sample comprises retrospective cranial/cervical MSCT scans obtained from 448 males and 416 females aged birth to 20 years from the Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology Research Osteological Database. Fusion status of the synchondrosis was scored using a modified six-stage scoring tier on an MSCT platform, with negligible observer error (κ = 0.911 ± 0.04, intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.994). Bayesian transition analysis indicates that females are most likely to transition to complete fusion at 13.1 years and males at 15.6 years. Posterior densities were derived for each morphological stage, with complete fusion of the synchondrosis attained in all Queensland males over 16.3 years of age and females aged 13.8 years and older. The results demonstrate significant sexual dimorphism in synchondrosis fusion and are suggestive of intrapopulation variation between major geographic regions in Australia. This study contributes to the growing repository of contemporary anthropological standards calibrated for the Queensland milieu to improve the efficacy of the coronial process for medicolegal death investigation. As a stand-alone age indicator, the basicranial synchondrosis may be consulted as an exclusion criterion when determining the age of majority that constitutes 17 years in Queensland forensic practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22687DOI Listing
May 2015

Morphometric modelling of ageing in the human pubic symphysis: sexual dimorphism in an Australian population.

Forensic Sci Int 2014 Mar 10;236:195.e1-11. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia; Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia.

Despite the prominent use of the pubic symphysis for age estimation in forensic anthropology, little has been documented regarding the quantitative morphological and micro-architectural changes of this surface. Specifically, utilising post-mortem computed tomography data from a large, contemporary Australian adult population, this study aimed to evaluate sexual dimorphism in the morphology and bone composition of the symphyseal surface; and temporal characterisation of the pubic symphysis in individuals of advancing age. The sample consisted of multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) scans of the pubic symphysis (slice thickness: 0.5mm, overlap: 0.1mm) of 200 individuals of Caucasian ancestry aged 15-70 years, obtained in 2011. Surface rendering reconstruction of the symphyseal surface was conducted in OsiriX(®) (v.4.1) and quantitative analyses in Rapidform XOS™ and Osteomeasure™. Morphometric variables including inter-pubic distance, surface area, circumference, maximum height and width of the symphyseal surface and micro-architectural assessment of cortical and trabecular bone compositions were quantified using novel automated engineering software capabilities. The major results of this study are correlated with the macroscopic ossification and degeneration pattern of the symphyseal surface, demonstrating significant age-related changes in the morphometric and bone tissue variables between 15 and 70 years. Regardless of sex, the overall dimensions of the symphyseal surface increased with age, coupled with a decrease in bone mass in the trabecular and cortical bone compartments. Significant differences between the ventral, dorsal and medial cortical surfaces were observed, which may be correlated to bone formation activity dependent on muscle activity and ligamentous attachments. Our study demonstrates significant sexual dimorphism at this site, with males exhibiting greater surface dimensions than females. These baseline results provide a detailed insight into the changes in the structure of the pubic symphysis with ageing and sexually dimorphic features associated with the cortical and trabecular bone profiles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.12.041DOI Listing
March 2014

Evaluation of the Suchey-Brooks method of age estimation in an Australian subpopulation using computed tomography of the pubic symphyseal surface.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2013 Mar 3;150(3):386-99. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Skeletal Biology and Forensic Anatomy Research Program, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia.

Despite the prominent use of the Suchey-Brooks (S-B) method of age estimation in forensic anthropological practice, it is subject to intrinsic limitations, with reports of differential interpopulation error rates between geographical locations. This study assessed the accuracy of the S-B method to a contemporary adult population in Queensland, Australia and provides robust age parameters calibrated for our population. Three-dimensional surface reconstructions were generated from computed tomography scans of the pubic symphysis of male and female Caucasian individuals aged 15-70 years (n = 195) in Amira and Rapidform. Error was analyzed on the basis of bias, inaccuracy and percentage correct classification for left and right symphyseal surfaces. Application of transition analysis and Chi-square statistics demonstrated 63.9 and 69.7% correct age classification associated with the left symphyseal surface of Australian males and females, respectively, using the S-B method. Using Bayesian statistics, probability density distributions for each S-B phase were calculated, providing refined age parameters for our population. Mean inaccuracies of 6.77 (±2.76) and 8.28 (±4.41) years were reported for the left surfaces of males and females, respectively; with positive biases for younger individuals (<55 years) and negative biases in older individuals. Significant sexual dimorphism in the application of the S-B method was observed; and asymmetry in phase classification of the pubic symphysis was a frequent phenomenon. These results recommend that the S-B method should be applied with caution in medico-legal death investigations of Queensland skeletal remains and warrant further investigation of reliable age estimation techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22213DOI Listing
March 2013
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